Early Cinema Collection

Cinema emerged in the late-nineteenth century through a combination of new advancements in technology with old traditions of screen presentation (see the Magic Lantern and Lantern Slide Catalog Collection for more on the history of these older technologies and screen practices).

The highlight of our Early Cinema collection is the 1907 to 1927 run of the Moving Picture World, one of the earliest trade papers of the motion picture industry. The heyday of the Moving Picture World was during the 1910s and the period that film historians have called cinema's "transitional era" (lasting roughly from 1908 to 1917). As a series of dramatic changes swept the industry, including the rise of the star system, the transition from short films to features, the decline of the Motion Picture Patents Company (generally associated with its largest stakeholder, Thomas Edison), and the rise of "Independent" companies that became the Hollywood studios. Showmen read Moving Picture World to stay abreast of the rapidly changing marketplace and the latest batch of pictures. Even reading now, one hundred years later, you can feel the dizzying energy of change.

Thanks to Domitor for supporting digitization of the early years of Moving Picture World and Marc Wanamaker, Eileen Bowser and the Museum of Modern Art for making rare copies available for scanning.

Extensive Runs

Billboard (1894-1921)

Exhibitors Herald (1917-1927)

  • Description:
    • Founded in 1915 by a Chicago printing company as a regional trade paper for Midwest exhibitors. In 1916, editor Martin Quigley bought out the owners, and over the next 15 years, he grew EXHIBITORS HERALD into one of the most important national, weekly trade papers in the film business. Quigley acquired MOTOGRAPHY in 1917 and MOVING PICTURE WORLD in 1927. In 1930, he acquired MOTION PICTURE NEWS and the new 'consolidated' publication became MOTION PICTURE HERALD. From the pulpit of his editorial page, Quigley preached the need to improve the motion picture industry and improve the quality of the films. He skillfully served as a mediator in disputes -- between distributors and exhibitors, between the film industry and the Catholic Church (Quigley was one of the architects of the Production Code). Quigley claimed that EXHIBITORS HERALD represented the 'independent exhibitor' and sections like 'What the Picture Did for Me?' certainly provided a forum for theater owners. But plenty of exhibitors viewed Quigley as a servant to the studios and large theater chains. In response, publications such as SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW, INDEPENDENT EXHIBITORS FILM BULLETIN, HARRISON'S REPORTS, and BOX OFFICE were either formed or grew significantly in the years following Quigley's brief moment of consolidation in 1930. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014
  • 1917
  • 1918
  • 1919
  • 1920
  • 1921
  • 1922
  • 1923
  • 1924
  • 1925
  • 1926
  • 1927

Motion Picture News (1913-1930)

Motography (1911-1918)

Moving Picture World (1907-1927)

New York Clipper (1855-1923)

Picture-Play Magazine (1915-1938)

Variety (1905-1949)

Select Holdings

The Biograph (Biograph Studios, 1915)

Cinema News (1917)

Close-Up (Los Angeles, 1920-23)

Der Kinematograph (1907-1908)

The Exhibitor (1920)

Exhibitors' Times (1913)

Exhibitors Trade Review (1921-1926)

Film Fun (1916-1926)

The Film Index (1909-1911)

The Great Selection: First National First Season (1922-1923)

The Implet (1912)

It (1920)

Lubin Bulletin (1914-15)

Mack Sennett Weekly (1919-1920)

The Majestic Monthly (1916)

Motion Picture Mail (1916)

Motion Picture Story Magazine (1913)

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual (1916-1918)

Motion Picture Supplement (1915)

Moving Picture News (1911-1913)

Moving Picture Weekly (1915-1922)

National Board of Review Magazine (1926-1928)

National Vaudeville Artists Annual Benefit Programs (1923-1929)

The Nickelodeon (1909-1911)

The Photoplay Author (1914-1915)

The Photo-Play Journal (1916-1921)

Photo-Play World (1918-1919)

The Photo Playwright (1912)

Pictures Press (1920)

Picture Show (1920-1921)

Reel and Slide (1918-1919)

Reel Life (Mutual Film Corporation) (1913-1915)

San Francisco Dramatic Review (1899-1901; 1908-1914)

The Screamer (later Motion Picture Times) (1916-1917)

Select Pictures Magazine (Select Pictures, 1918-1919)

Studio Skeleton (Goldwyn Studios, 1919-1920)

U.S. vs. Motion Picture Patents Company (1912-1913)

  • Description
    • These seven volumes contain the testimonies and supporting documents from the U.S. District Court's antitrust lawsuit against the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC). Formed in 1908, the MPPC (sometimes referred to as "the Edison Trust" or just "the Trust") sought to control the American film industry through pooling patents and demanding that producers and exhibitors acquire licenses to those patents. Independent producers and exhibitors, who refused to license the patents, argued that the MPPC was an unlawful monopoly. In 1912 and 1913, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania heard testimonies from both MPPC members, such as Siegmund Lubin, and "Independents" who later became Hollywood moguls, such as William Fox. Ultimately, in 1915, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which found the MPPC in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and spelled the end for the already weakening MPPC.
    • The full title of the published testimonies is "In the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States of America, petitioner, vs. Motion Picture Patents Company, et al., defendants". Scanned from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Funded by Domitor, the international society for the study of early cinema.
  • Vol. 1: Testimony of Witnesses for the Petitioner | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Petitioner:
    • Marvin, Harry N.
    • Pelzer, William
    • Rosenbluh, Louis
    • Swanson, William H.
    • Petitioner's Exhibits
    • Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 2: Testimony of Witnesses for the Petitioner | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Petitioner:
    • Adams, Peter
    • Anderson, William J.
    • Balsley, Charles H.
    • Bates, Thomas H.
    • Bennethum, George W.
    • Boone, Acton R.
    • Boyer, Charles W. Carlton, James L. Clapham, A. J. Devery, William Ensor, J. M. Fox, William Graham, J. C. Henry, J. Henkel Hopp, Joseph Karson, Louis Lessy, Michael Lodge, James J. Mandelbaum, Emanuel Michael, Julius H. Miles, Herbert Pelzer, William Rosenbluh, Louis Sawyer, A. H. Solz, Reuben Streyckmans, Hector J. Swaab, Lewis M. Swanson, William H. Thorp, Edgar A. Ruling of Judge Ray on Question Asked L. M. Swaabe by Counsel for Defendants Petitioner's Exhibits Defendants' Witness Braden, John Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 3: Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants Berst, J.A. Dyer, Frank L. Fobster, Joseph Hardin, John Howard, Frank J. Jefferys, Fred. Koerpel, Jonas A. Machat, Nathan Marvin, H.N. Smith, Albert E. Petitioner's Exhibits Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 4: Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants
    • Aiken, Fred C.
    • Anthony, Frederick A. Armat, Thomas Atwater, L. W. Auger, Edward Bauerfreund, Adolph Berst, J. A. Blackton, James Stuart Brandon, William C. Brandt, William Cohen, George Edwards, Calvin S. Etris, Robert Gilligham, Albert J. Goff, Albert W. Greenburg, Abraham Hansen, Matthew Haring, Charles F. Hatch, Stanley W. Herbst, William P. Keirtscher, William F. Kinson, Walter F. Landau, William A. LeBeau, Ralph Long, Samuel Marsey, Harry Morgan, Joseph P. Nichols, Harry E. Pearson, Elmer R. Preller, William C. Sawin, Chester W. Scheck, Philip J. Schuchert, J. A. Schwalbe, Harry Shirley, Samuel H. Stephens, Thomas W. Super, Edward M. Tredick, Alton Van Ronkel. Ike Wates, Herbert C. Petitioner's Exhibits Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 5: Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants: Aiken, Fred C. Baumann, Charles O. Boehringer, E. Braley, Ora L. Brandon, William C. Brown, Floyd Brown, Thomas A. Choynski, Morris A. Clark, James B. Collier, John Cook, Frank Cross, Glenn A. Cummings, Joseph M. Denniston, Joseph R. Evans, John G. Feinler, Charles A. Gibbons, N. H. Graham, Howell Greene, Walter W. R. Haas, Otto Hall, Otto P. Hennegan, John, F. Hunter, James W. Jones, C. R. Katz, Samuel Kenney, Frank M. Kenney, W. Allen Kent, Leland B. Kessler, John Daniel Lubin, Siegmund Matthews, Anna S. Milder, Max Mogler, Joseph Morgan, Houston, N. Morris, Samuel E. Murray, William T. Newsome, H. M. Palmer, Warren R. Peltier, Robert G. Penman, John, Jr. Powell, Adolph Rosenquest, J. Wesley Ruben, Isaac H. Scherer, Harry W. Simons, Edwin M. Slocum, Henry R. Smith, Edward M. Spoor, George K. Stiebel, Joseph L. Struble, Cornelius D. Thomas, Horace M. Warner, Jacob Waters,, Percival L. Williams, Theodore W. Worthington, Charles L. Petitioner's Exhibits Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 6: Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants | Read | Download |
    • Testimony of Witnesses for the Defendants: Brylawski, Aaron Kennedy, Jeremiah J. Lubin, Siegmund Marvin, Harry N. Matthews, Anna S. Spoor, George K. Talmadge, Arthur E. Waters, Pebcival L. Beach, Frederick C. Brick, Alfred D. Brulatour, Jules E. Streyckmans, Hector J. (recalled) Swaar, Lewis M. (recalled) Weiss, Alfred Henry, Thomas Yarrow Wright, William Defendants' Evidence in Surrebuttal Petitioner's Evidence in Rebuttal Stipulations Petitioner's Exhibits Defendants' Exhibits
  • Vol. 7: Agreement by Parties | Read | Download |
    • Table of Contents
      1. (1) Alphabetical Index to Agreements by Parties. pages III-X
      2. (2) Agreements in Chronological Order. pages 3-664
      3. (3) Appendix. pages 655-664
      4. (4) Chronological Index of Agreements. pages 665-720
      5. (5) General Subject Matter Index of Agreements. pages 721-723
    Memorandum for the the Motion Picture Patents Company and the General Film Company concerning the investigation of their business by the Department of Justice, submitted by M.B. Philip and Francis T. Homer. 1913 | Read | Download |

The Writer's Monthly (1916)